UK Socialists getting nervous about anti-Muslim populism

As austerity attacks bite, the threat posed by anti-Muslim racism nationalism is likely to grow.

Keep in mind that ALL the signs here are being carried by Muslims in the streets of London

Socialist Review–The recent student protests have been an inspiration, but not everyone is happy about them. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as “Tommy Robinson”, leader of the racist pro-British English Defence League (EDL), made his displeasure known at a demonstration in Peterborough in December. He described students as “dirty, stinking layabouts” (an accurate description) and threatened to send EDL thugs to attack future student protests.

The police and the right are only too keen to play up these threats to put people off demonstrating. But the EDL have taken a more explicitly violent turn recently, with Muslims first in their firing line. EDL members in Preston were filmed chanting “burn a mosque” on the streets, and there was an attempted arson attack on a mosque just days later in Stoke-on-Trent, which police are treating as a racist attack. (But Islam is not a race)

This wasn’t an isolated incident. A new report by the European Muslim Research Centre at the University of Exeter offers a comprehensive overview of this latest phase of anti-Muslim violence in Britain. Titled “Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK Case Studies 2010”, the report by academics Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Dr Robert Lambert is the first tranche of a planned ten year project to document the racism faced by Muslims in Europe. (It isn’t racism, it’s defense against an enemy within that is trying to create an Islamic Republic in England)

The report makes grim reading. There has been a spate of attacks on mosques in Britain in recent months, including pigs’ heads being left outside them in Cambridge and Dudley; arson attacks in Stoke, and eggs, bricks, stones and other missiles being thrown at mosques. The report also highlights a disturbing number of assaults, especially on Muslim women for wearing the hijab or niqab. (Since when does a tug on a headbag become an assault?)

The EDL’s message of hate against Muslims is reflected and amplified by the mass media, especially newspapers like the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Star.

As Githens-Mazer puts it: “The factually inaccurate accurate yet consistent portrayal of Muslims as somehow being apart from British culture and values fans the flames of hatred and violence against Muslims in Britain. (No, it’s a reaction to Muslim hatred and violence against non-Muslims)

This pattern of racist (Islam is not a race) hysteria against Muslims is not confined to Britain. In a disturbing echo of the way anti-Semitism swept across Europe and the US in the early 20th century, we are now seeing a worldwide rise in anti-Islam words and deeds. (And not a moment too soon)

Last year US right wingers linked to the Tea Party whipped up an absurd needed controversy over the “Ground Zero mosque” in New York.  This sparked a spate of anti-mosque activity across the US, including arson attacks. The right wing media has fuelled this hysteria. Fox News host Glenn Beck recently claimed that 10 percent of Muslims are terrorists. (ONLY 10%? Seems kind of low)

This kind of hateful rubbish truth has shocked even some on the right (Only phony righties). Muhammad Ali Hasan, a rich Republican and founder of “Muslims for America”, recently defected to the Democrats as a result of anti-Muslim racism. (And good riddance to him) The hostility he felt at the Republican Party convention in May was the tipping point. “You experience bigotry sometimes but I often just think it’s probably my personality that the person doesn’t like,” he said. “At the convention, though, that was the first time I felt the real thing. It was the worst experience of my life.”

Europe has also seen a spike in violent Islamophobia anti-Muslim activity, again characterised by attacks on the streets, the rise of fascist (No, fascists are on the Left) and far right parties, racist anti-Islam media campaigns and laws directed against Muslims. France has banned the niqab face veil and Spain only narrowly rejected doing so. (They shouldn’t ban veils, they should ban Muslims)

Elsewhere the response to Islamophobia anti-Muslim populism has been ineffective, even among some on the far left. In France 12 Muslim activists recently left the New Anti-capitalist Party, including the hijab-wearing former candidate Ilham Moussaid. She said this was due to the party’s failure to tackle Islamophobic anti-Islam attitudes against her.

There is certainly no room for complacency on these matters. While people generally oppose the crude and blatant bigotry anti-IslamoFascism of groups like the EDL, anti-Muslim ideas have seeped deeply into our society. One poll taken last year found that 44 percent of people in Britain agreed that Islam is a “serious danger to Western civilisation even in its milder forms.” (Only 44%?)

As the austerity measures and coalition cuts ramp up we will see more attempts to divide our movement by setting up Muslims as a scapegoat for people’s frustrations.(Yes, especially in light of all the Muslim welfare cheats who don’t work, have several wives, litters of kids, and suck the blood of the taxpayers) David Cameron recently spoke in the House of Commons of the need to “de-radicalise our universities” – a reference in this case to the terror threat allegedly posed by Islamic societies. (Not allegedly, actually)

Words like this can only help the fascists and racists patriots of the EDL and British National Party grow. The EDL are planning to return to Luton, the town where they started their campaign of anti-Muslim Islam hatred, on 5 February 2011.

Unite Against Fascism (who in fact are the biggest fascists of all) has called a national counter-demonstration in response to this threat. We have to show the EDL thugs that we won’t tolerate their racism anti-Islam pro-British patriotism on the streets – and send the same message to their political masters in Whitehall and Fleet Street.

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